The Elderly should never have been targeted in the recent Budget – BREEN.

May 6th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Speaking following news that the Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon O’Cuiv is to review the controversial decision in the recent Budget to axe Funding to the Scheme of Community Support for Older People said that “The Elderly should never have been targeted in the first place.”
“Plans to scrap this Scheme which provides personal safety alarms for the elderly shows how out of touch this Government really is. The Scheme of Community Support for Older People was initially introduced in 1996 in order to contribute to the social supports available for vulnerable older people.  The emphasis of the Scheme was on providing funds to local community and voluntary organisations to install personal monitored alarms and items of home security, such as door and window locks, to enable the older person live independently.

An average of 10,000 older people have benefited from the Scheme since 2006.  Over 1,850 older people have already benefited from the Scheme in 2009.”
“26% to 29% of people over the age of 65 in this County are living alone (Census 2006) , many of them live in remote isolated areas, they do not drive and this panic button was a real source of comfort to them 24/7 knowing that there was instant help available to them.  They could also have Window Locks and Doors Locks fitted made them feel safe in their homes.”
“Over the past 12 months over 100 people living in West Clare alone were facilitated with either a panic button, window or door lock through the West Clare Resource Centre who have provided invaluable assistance to the elderly.”
“I raised this matter in Dail when I spoke during the Debate on the Supplementary Budget and I appealed to the Minister to review this decision.  I welcome the news that while the Scheme has been temporarily suspended until September the Department will honour current applications.”
“The provision of the panic buttons and the personal alarms is a great support for our older people and a source of comfort for them and their families.   People will be facing into the winter period at that stage and our elderly people should not have to live in fear of their lives in their own homes.”
“I would urge Minister O’Cuiv to ensure that this Scheme is back up and running following this review in September and I hope that this is just not a stop gap to get over the upcoming Local and European Elections.”